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Robson & Crane

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Robson & Crane

Stuart Robson

W. H. Crane

(click on photo to enlarge)

"His prodigious comic personality, his wooden countenance, his staccato utterance, and his long-familiar squeak inevitably give an extravagant turn to the fun." Critic on his performance of The Meddler

"Although Mr. Crane's versatility and his talent for impersonations are limited, his comedy powers... are exceptionally authoritative. His humor, especially, is broad, unctuous, and perfectly understandable... there is neither bite nor sting to the fun that he invokes. His command of pathos is not so sure, and he is not always successful in scenes that require sustained emotion." From Lewis C. Strang's Famous Actors of the Day

Robson, Stuart [ne Henry Robson Stuart] (1836-1903) American actor born in Annapolis. As a boy in Baltimore he did home acting with the young Booths. He made his stage debut as Horace Courtney in Uncle Tomís Cabin as It Is, a dramatic retort to Uncle Tomís Cabin, at the Baltimore Museum in 1852, then under the management of John E. Owens. The comedian gained his experience in numerous stock companies. His New York debut came in 1862 when he joined Laura Keeneís company. Later he spent time at Mrs. Drewís Arch Street Theatre in Philadelphia and then with William Warren at the Boston Museum. He returned to New York in 1871 where he joined the Union Square Theatre stock company. The height of his career came when he team up with W.H. Crane in Our Boarding in 1877. The pair became the most popular team in the theatre, a relationship lasting 12 years. While together they performed in among other: Our Bachelors (1878), The Comedy of Errors (1878) and The Merry Wives of Windsor, where Crane played Falstaff and Robson enacted Slender, Sharps and Flats (1880), and their biggest success written especially for them, Bronson Howardís The Henrietta (1887). In 1889, believing that could make more money separately they broke up. Robson continued to appear in some of the plays that had made them famous. In 1893 he performed Tony Lumpkin in a mounting of She Stoop to Conquer, and 1898 and 1899 he appeared in vehicles especially written for him The Meddler and The Gadfly. Robson last New York appearance was in Oliver Goldsmith in 1899. At a time when many clergy regularly railed at theatre people, Robson was known among fellow actors for his odd pastime of maintaining a scrapbook filled with published accounts of erring ministers.

Crane, W(illiam) H(enry) (1845-1928) American actor born in Leicester, MA. He made his debut in Utica, NY in 1863 as the Notary in The Daughter of the Regiment with Harriet Holmanís opera touring company, in which he remained for eight seasons. He then played low comedian roles with Alice Oates Light Opera. In 1874 he made his  New York debut as Le Blanc the Notary, in the original production of the musical burlesque Evangeline at Niblo's Garden. Three years later, in 1877, he teamed with Stuart Robson to produce a series of very popular domestic comedies. Their initial success was as the quarreling neighbors in Our Boarding House (1877) in which Crane played the role of Colonel M.T. Elevator, the Corn Exchange operator. In subsequent collaborations, Crane appeared as Dromio of Ephesus in The Comedy of Errors (1878, lavishly revived in 1885); As Bachelor Jowler in Our Bachelors (1878); as Dullstone Flat in Sharps and Flats (1880); as Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night (1881); and as Nicholas Van Alstyne in the team's biggest success, The Henrietta (1887). This magnificent and celebrated partnership lasted until 1889. Then Crane began a successful career as a producer-actor in his own vehicles with the role of Senator Hannibal Rivers in The Senator, a part with which he was associated for the rest of his career. He was a loyal patron of the American comic playwrights, though none of his vehicles was of great significance until he played the likable horse-trader David Harum (1900). In 1896, he toured as Anthony Absolute in Joseph Jefferson "all star" production of Sheridanís The Rivals. His last New York play was The New Henrietta (1913) with Douglas Fairbanks in the cast. He was a thoughtful artist who contributed a number essays on acting and the theatre to popular journals of the day.

Stuart Robeson in unidentified character-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (73983 bytes) William H Crane (1880)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (74188 bytes)

in 1860s

in 1880

Comedy of Errors Poster.jpg (324048 bytes)

Comedy of Errors Poster

Willian H Crane in The Comdy of Errors (1885)-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized & Flipped.jpg (80964 bytes)

New York Times ad for A Comedy of Errors (9-27-1885) with William Haworth-Resized.jpg (552545 bytes)

Willian H Crane in The Comdy of Errors (1885)-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized.jpg (22026 bytes)
in A Comedy of Errors (1885) Comedy of Errors ad in the NY Times 9/27/1885
with William Haworth as Bathazar
in A Comedy of Errors (1885)
Stuart Robeson in The Henrietta-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (52155 bytes)

William H Crane in The Henrietta (1888)-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized.jpg (161911 bytes)

W H Crane in The Henrietta-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (51600 bytes)
in The Henrietta (1888)

The Henrietta (1888)

in The Henrietta (1888)

Stuart Robeson in The Meddler (1890)-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized.jpg (66150 bytes)

Willian H Crane as Anthony Absolute in The Rivals (1896)-Photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (116875 bytes)

Willian H Crane in The Rivals with cast (1896)-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized.jpg (221059 bytes)

in The Meddler (1898)

as Anthony Absolute in The Rivals (1898) in The Rivals (1898)

Stuart Robson sitting in chair-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (131208 bytes)

Willian H Crane in David Harum (1900)-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized.jpg (154749 bytes) Willian H Crane in Father and the Boys (1908)-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized.jpg (80106 bytes)
as a young man in David Harem (1900) in The Father & the Boys (1908)
W H Crane ias Falstaff-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (83974 bytes)
as Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor

Willian H Crane in The Senator (1890)-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized.jpg (151543 bytes)

Willian H Crane in The Senator Keeps House (1911)-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized.jpg (84066 bytes)
in The Senator (1890) in The Senator Keeps House (1911)

Stuart Robeson headshot (1900)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (83514 bytes)

Willian H Crane headshot (1911)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (74779 bytes) Willian H Crane & cast in The New Henriette (1913)-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized.jpg (67954 bytes)

in 1900

in 1911 in The New Henrietta (1913)

William Haworth and Robson & Crane

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